Four years had passed since Dat's last seizure. I thought he had outgrown them. His doctors must have thought so, too, because he's been off meds now for about two years. But his epilepsy returned with a vengeance early Friday morning. Amazingly, this attack occurred in his sleep, and was severe enough to wake his mother.
I had been with him Thursday night. I blew off a Northampton County Council meeting to take him to baseball practice. After that was over, he and several team mates waltzed over to Northwest Little League's well-manicured fields, ostensibly to watch two other teams play. Instead, they spent most of their time playing "red butt" with a tennis ball. They had a blast and no one seemed to mind.
When I left him that night, I had no idea his next trip would be in an ambulance.
He's been in ambulances and helicopters so many times he should have a discount card. Born with a perforated intestine that led to all sorts of nasty complications and very nearly killed him, he spent most of his first six months in a hospital. Two weeks after his release, he was rushed back with pneumonia.
After that, the seizures started.
An eight-year old stoic, Dat never dwells on these unlucky breaks. He just moves on. That's what he did this past weekend. On Saturday, he spent most of the day on a baseball diamond, hitting and fielding balls with reckless abandon. Just watching made me tired. After that was over, he insisted we take his five pound dog, Suki, to Jacobsburg Park, where they both romped and raced each other for over an hour in a steady drizzle.
I caught hell for that.
Saturday night, I noticed something odd. Suki usually sleeps at about twenty different spots when she's with me. Not this time. Everytime I looked in on Dat, she was curled up right next to him.
On Sunday, I was a little more responsible, and we stayed indoors while it rained. I taught Dat how to cheat at cards. We also talked politics (he loves Obama). But when the sun finally broke, he was outside again, this time working on pitches while Suki chased birds (she's smart, but still hasn't figured out they can fly).
The Epilepsy Foundation reports that 300,000 American children under the age of 14 have epilepsy. So Dat is by no means alone. I'm no stoic. I complain about everything, especially when it happens to me. Still, it tears me apart to see any child suffer, especially when it's without apparent cause.
Tonight, Dat will be playing in a baseball game. I don't think he learns anything from me. It's the other way around.